Archive for the ‘Diabetes’ Category

Could a new sugar substitute actually lower blood sugar and help you lose weight? That’s the tantalizing – but distant – promise of new research presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) this week.

Agavins, derived from the agave plant that’s used to make tequila, were found in mouse studies to trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar, as well as help obese mice lose weight.

Unlike sucrose, glucose, and fructose, agavins aren’t absorbed by the body, so they can’t elevate blood glucose, according to research by Mercedes G. López, a researcher at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico.

And by boosting the level of a peptide called GLP-1 (short for glucagon-like peptide-1), which triggers the body’s production of insulin, agavins aid the body’s natural blood sugar control. Also, because agavins are type of fiber, they can make people feel fuller and reduce appetite, López’s research shows.

“We believe that agavins have a great potential as light sweeteners since they are sugars, highly soluble, have a low glycemic index, and a neutral taste, but most important, they are not metabolized by humans,” read the study abstract. “This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.”

The caveat: The research was conducted in mice, and more study is necessary before we’ll know whether agavins are effective and safe in humans. In other words, we’re a long way from agavins appearing on grocery store shelves.

That said, with almost 26 millions of Americans living with diabetes and another 2 million diagnosed each year, a sweetener that lowered blood sugar levels rather than raised them would be quite a useful discovery. Not to mention the potential for a sugar substitute with the potential to help people lose weight.

In the study, titled “Agavins as Potential Novel Sweeteners for Obese and Diabetic People”, López added agavins to the water of mice who were fed a standard diet, weighing them and monitoring blood sugar levels every week. The majority of the mice given the agavin-supplemented water had lower blood glucose levels, ate less, and lost weight compared with other mice whose water was supplemented with glucose, sucrose, fructose, agave syrup, and aspartame.

Unlike other types of fructose, Agavins are fructans, which are long-chain fructoses that the body can’t use, so they are not absorbed into the bloodstream to raise blood sugar. And despite the similarity in the name, agavins are not to be confused with agave nectar or agave syrup, natural sweeteners that are increasingly popular sugar substitutes. In these products the fructans are broken down into fructose, which does raise blood sugar – and add calories.

López has been studying fructans for some time, and has published previous studies showing that they have protective prebiotic effects in the digestive tract and contribute to weight loss in obese mice.

A 2012 study by another team of researchers published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that fructans boosted levels of the beneficial probiotics lactobacillus and bifidus. And like many types of fiber, agavins also lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

But the news isn’t all good; a 2011 literature review of human studies of the relationship between fructans (not agavins specifically) and blood sugar found that of 13 randomized studies of fructans, only three documented positive results. It remains to be seen whether – as López argues – agavins are distinct from other fructans in their action.

The downside: Agavins are don’t taste as sweet as other forms of sugar such as sucrose, fructose and glucose. And not everyone can tolerate them; like other types of fiber they have the potential to cause digestive problems.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/03/17/new-sweetener-from-the-tequila-plant-may-aid-diabetes-weight-loss/

Thanks to Dr. Rajadhyaksha for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

soda

Diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a new report published Wednesday.

Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes for the report, published as an opinion piece in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. They say they were “shocked” by the results.

“Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health,” said Susan Swithers, the report’s author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. “But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.”

Artificial sweeteners in diet soda fulfill a person’s craving for a sweet taste, without the calories. But that’s the problem, according to researchers. Think of it like crying wolf.

Fake sugar teases your body by pretending to give it real food. But when your body doesn’t get the things it expects to get, it becomes confused on how to respond.

“You’ve messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn’t know if it should try to process it because it’s been tricked by the fake sugar so many times,” says Swithers.

On a physiological level, this means when diet soda drinkers consume real sugar, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure.

Diet soda drinkers also tend to pack on more pounds than those who don’t drink it, the report says.

“The taste of sweet does cause the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar , and if carbohydrates are not consumed, it causes a drop in blood sugar, which triggers hunger and cravings for sugar,” says CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis.

The artificial sweeteners also dampen the “reward center” in your brain, which may lead you to indulge in more calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food, according to the report.

The American Beverage Association says the report was “an opinion piece, not a scientific study.

“Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today,” the association said in a statement. “They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe.”

Diet soda’s negative effects are not just linked to weight gain, however, the report says.

It found that diet soda drinkers who maintained a healthy weight range still had a significantly increased risk of the top three killers in the United States: diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“We’ve gotten to a place where it is normal to drink diet soda because people have the false impression that it is healthier than indulging in a regular soda,” says Swithers. “But research is now very clear that we need to also be mindful of how much fake sugar they are consuming.”

There are five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners: acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), neotame, saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low), and sucralose (Splenda).

“Saccharin was one of the first commercially-available artificially sweeteners, and it’s actually a derivative of tar,” says Swithers.

Even natural sweeteners like Stevia, which has no calories and is 250 times sweeter than regular sugar, are still processed extracts of a natural plant and may have increased health risks.

“Just because something is natural does not always mean that it is safer,” says Jampolis.

There more studies and research that need to be done. But in the meantime, experts say: Limit consumption.

“No one is saying cut it out completely,” says Swithers. “But diet soda should be a treat or indulgence just like your favorite candy, not an everyday
thing.”

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/10/diet-soda-may-do-more-harm-than-good/?hpt=hp_c3

 

 

Obesity during pregnancy may increase chances for having a child with autism, provocative new research suggests.

It’s among the first studies linking the two, and though it doesn’t prove obesity causes autism, the authors say their results raise public health concerns because of the high level of obesity in this country.

Study women who were obese during pregnancy were about 67 percent more likely than normal-weight women to have autistic children. They also faced double the risk of having children with other developmental delays.

On average, women face a 1 in 88 chance of having a child with autism; the results suggest that obesity during pregnancy would increase that to a 1 in 53 chance, the authors said.

The study was released online Monday in Pediatrics.

Since more than one-third of U.S. women of child-bearing age are obese, the results are potentially worrisome and add yet another incentive for maintaining a normal weight, said researcher Paula Krakowiak, a study co-author and scientist at the University of California, Davis.

Previous research has linked obesity during pregnancy with stillbirths, preterm births and some birth defects.

Dr. Daniel Coury, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said the results “raise quite a concern.”

He noted that U.S. autism rates have increased along with obesity rates and said the research suggests that may be more than a coincidence.

More research is needed to confirm the results. But if mothers’ obesity is truly related to autism, it would be only one of many contributing factors, said Coury, who was not involved in the study.

Genetics has been linked to autism, and scientists are examining whether mothers’ illnesses and use of certain medicines during pregnancy might also play a role.

The study involved about 1,000 California children, ages 2 to 5. Nearly 700 had autism or other developmental delays, and 315 did not have those problems.

Mothers were asked about their health. Medical records were available for more than half the women and confirmed their conditions. It’s not clear how mothers’ obesity might affect fetal development, but the authors offer some theories.

Obesity, generally about 35 pounds overweight, is linked with inflammation and sometimes elevated levels of blood sugar. Excess blood sugar and inflammation-related substances in a mother’s blood may reach the fetus and damage the developing brain, Krakowiak said.

The study lacks information on blood tests during pregnancy. There’s also no information on women’s diets and other habits during pregnancy that might have influenced fetal development.

There were no racial, ethnic, education or health insurance differences among mothers of autistic kids and those with unaffected children that might have influenced the results, the researchers said.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-04-09/Autism-obesity-pregnancy/54126558/1

 

The same bacterium responsible for most stomach ulcers may play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes among overweight and obese adults, New York University researchers recently reported.

And in the same way that antibiotics eradicate the bacterium and heal ulcers, antibiotics might eventually prove useful in diabetes prevention, they suggest in an article appearing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Non-diabetic adults infected with Helicobacter pylori (whether or not they had ulcer symptoms), tended to have higher blood sugar than adults without H. pylori, according to the study co-authored by Yu Chen, an associate professor of environmental medicine at NYU, and Dr. Martin J. Blaser, chairman of NYU’s department of medicine.

Chen and Blaser assessed blood sugar levels using measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c or A1c), a marker of excess glucose in the bloodstream that in recent years has become a key tool for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.

Helicobacteri pylori is a complicated bacterium. Persistent H. pylori infections beginning in childhood have been linked decades later to ulcers of the stomach and small intestine, and a heightened risk of stomach cancer. Although H. pylori can inflame the stomach, many infected people have no symptoms.

Blaser called H. pylori a complicated and interesting organism that affects children and adults in entirely different ways. In previous work he and Chen found that H. pylori protects children against asthma and allergy.

“This study provides further evidence of late-in-life cost to having H. pylori,” Blaser said in an interview. The findings also give new support to “the concept of eradicating H. pylori in older people.”

Theoretically, antibiotics that wipe out H. pylori might protect older, overweight men and women from developing diabetes, Blaser and Chen said. However, scientists still need to determine how eliminating H. pylori might affect Type 2 diabetes, and how H. pylori affects sugar breakdown among people of different weights.

Chen and Blaser proposed a mechanism for how H. pylori might set the stage for diabetes. They said the bacterium might alter levels of two important digestive hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin, sometimes called the hunger hormone, decreases calorie-burning and promotes weight gain. Leptin reduces appetite and boosts calorie-burning. Previous research has linked H. pylori with decreased ghrelin and increased leptin.

In the past, scientists working with small samples came up with conflicting findings about an association between H. pylori and Type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease strongly associated with excess body weight, as well as heredity. Formerly called adult onset or late onset diabetes, Type 2 diabetes has become epidemic among overweight and obese youngsters. It kills an estimated 3.8 million adults worldwide each year.

One of the strengths of the NYU study is that Blaser and Chen worked with a bigger study population, analyzing data from 7,417 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III and 6,072 adults and children 3 and older in NHANES 1999-2000.

“H. pylori was consistently positively related to HbA1c level in adults, a valid and reliable biomarker for long-term blood glucose levels,” they wrote.

In an editorial appearing in the same issue of the journal, lead author Dani Cohen, an epidemiologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel, suggested that the new findings could have important implications for diabetes prevention and control.

Cohen, a specialist in H. pylori’s health effects, said the next step should be conducting rigorous studies to examine the impact of H. pylori treatment on A1c levels and on the development of diabetes among older adults carrying excess pounds.

http://www.12newsnow.com/story/17156233/diabetes-linked-to-ulcer-causing-bacteria